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Thief: To The Next Level----Conclusion

The Search Continues
Lord Todd: CoSaS (Circle of Stone and Shadow) Lead
Sir Avalon: T2X: Shadows of the Metal Age Lead

I finish reading all the contents on the scroll and whisper for Ol'Ebie to come hither. Ebie replies with, "I shall not leave my post until I am properly relieved."

BackDoor:<Whispering> Now is not the time for such games Ebie!
Eberon: I repeat: I shall not leave my post until I am properly relieved.

BackDoor:<Whispering> Shhhh! Quiet Ebie! Now is not the time! Get your ass over here now!
Eberon: I am following Order 456.89-17 of the Thieves Guild Manual on 'Posting a Sentry'. I shall not leave my post until I am properly relieved.

BackDoor:<Whispering> Shhhh! Quiet! You're going to attract the guards! You'd best get your ass over here before I come and blackjack it, and drag your butt over here!
Eberon: Well! Since you put it like that…I guess I'll have to come on over and see what it is that you want to show me. It better be good, or I'll turn you in for violation of the Thieves Guild Manual on Posting a Sentry, Order 456.8…

BackDoor:<Whispering> Yeah, yeah, yeah…whatever, just get you butt in here. Pronto!

Ebie ventures back to Lord Dumfries' office and I inform him of the information I've just found. At the bottom of the scroll was a note, which read as follows: Note** The 'Horn of Rudolph' = 'The Head of Benny'

BackDoor: Look at the bottom note. Do you know what this means?
Eberon: Oh my Beejeezers! Rudolph killed Benny! Santa's going to have a heart attack when he catches wind of this!

BackDoor: No you dimwit, the 'Horn of Rudolph', as in Rudolph Klementowski. Rudolph was the brother of the 'Trickster' who was slain by Sir Prance Alot.

Rudolph entered Sir Prance Alots' studios and started to rant and rave about how Sir Prance Alot owed him two more ballet lessons from his donation to the studio. A heated discussion broke out, and when Rudolph threatened Sir Prance Alot, Sir Jumps Alot interfered and gave Rudolph a good lecture. Rudolph did not take too kindly to the lecture and threatened to kill both of them. Sir Jumps Alot started jumping all over the place and distracted Rudolph, while Sir Prance Alot pranced around Rudolph at an alarming speed. The friction created from Sir Prance Alot prancing caused a circular hole to form around Rudolph. The floor collapsed beneath Rudolph and he fell through the floor to the cold, concrete basement floor, and died.
Eberon: Ohhhh, so that's wha...I knew that. What does this mean to us?

BackDoor: The Horn of Rudolph has been rumored to have been hollowed out, and secret plans put inside of it. No such rumor exist about The Head of Benny. We need to get to Lord Eversotites' estate and search The Head of Benny. I bet we'll find what we're looking for.

Eversotite Bound
Ebie and I swallow an invisibility potion and head for the back alley door, which I had already cleared for our quick getaway earlier. When we reach the alley, we see a couple of Burricks tied off to a light post. We run for the Burricks, jump on, and they serve us perfectly for our quick trek across town to Lord Eversotites' estate.

Using the Burricks to get across town was the easy part, now ditching these persistent pest was the hard part. We certainly don't need the attention of two Burricks following us around, besides, they don't seem to fit in the shadows as well as Ebie and I. I ask Ebie if he's got any extra deer legs, and he says, "Yup, sure do." I happen to have a few carrots left over, so we feed them the deer legs and carrots, and told them to stay put. They finally complied, and we jumped the wall to Lord Eversotites' estate.

Once inside his estate, we notice an open window on the second floor. We already know that we don't have to worry about security here, because Lord Eversotites' estate is not considered an 'at risk' place. I place a rope arrow on the windows ledge and we climb up. Once inside, we immediately head for his art gallery. We had to dodge a few of his maids, but that was amateur work. We get to the gallery, and we see The Head of Benny. We search the head, and find a piece of paper nicely folded up in the throat of this awkward piece of art. We unfold the paper, and begin to read:

What barriers have each of your teams run into since the beginning of your project? Press? Community? Time constraints? Engine coding? Etc. What have you done to overcome these 'Road Blocks'?

Sir Avalon: Skilled work takes lots of time and effort. Just one highly detailed texture can take more than a day, while objects and new creature models take thrice as long. Plot can take lengthy amounts of time to get put just right, as can Mission Design. Concepts of game play are things that you never ever want to get wrong, because one tiny hole in the story can make it all come crashing down. Just the time it takes to get things done is a 'Road Block' for us types that find our creativity rushing far ahead of our schedules…

Lord Daniel Todd: I could say that the engine constraints are definitely a roadblock. We often push things harder then they were designed to go, and then have to back off, release some pressure, and hope that everything still holds together (it always has so far). There are piles of things we'd love to be able to do but cannot because we do not have the source code. But strict restrictions often bring about brilliant solutions, so I think it's still a winning situation.

The only other roadblock we often face is our own ambitions getting ahead of us. It's rather common to get a fantastic idea all of a sudden that doubles your workload, and I am proud (and humbled) to say that we've decided to go with quite a few of those types of ideas.

I could say that the multiple opinions of a team with very little hierarchy may be a roadblock, but I think that we have gained more from our nitpickers and devil's advocates then we have lost.

Life is a constant evolution in which we all are constantly learning. What lessons have you taken from the development of your respective projects, and how have you incorporated these lessons in your everyday lives?

Sir Avalon: I have learned that email, IRC, and web forums are of the utmost importance to these projects. Remember, kids, lack of communication means a lack of progress, and that's the first step to killing off any kind of project.

Lord Daniel Todd: Well that's a tough one to answer, because CoSaS -is- my every day life. I think that the project has given me lots of good experience working with and leading a group of people who each have very strong and multiple talents. That shall certainly be valuable to me wherever I go in life. I think that many of the lessons this thing will teach me won't be realized until it is all over and I am looking back on it. If CoSaS is a success, then I will know what I did wrong, and if CoSaS is a flop, then I will know even what I did wrong even better. I feel that this thing is as much a test of endurance and ambition as it is an education for future projects.

On the flipside, how did lessons that you've learned throughout life help you in taking on the tremendously huge responsibility of such a project? Who do you pay tribute to for such lessons learned that got you where you are today?

Sir Avalon: Don't expect things to go smoothly. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Don't plan ahead with the errors in mind; the more you plan, the less likely it will be that things go according to plan. Let chaos reign in what it assumes to be a disordered fashion when the time comes for something to go wrong, but little will it know that the chaos is going just as you planned because you took the precaution not to take early precautions or plan out counter-chaotic plans. I thank poor Spot for being the guinea pig in this particular evaluation of life.

Lord Daniel Todd: All of those group projects back at school where nothing would ever get done until I took charge ring a bell? I suppose I could pay tribute to all those teachers who intentionally put me in with the misfits dimwits and losers because they knew I was going to whip them into shape by the time the project was through (only to see them go back to their loser ways as soon as the dust settled). This is mostly true in the Aerospace Academy, at which I spent my high school sophomore year. The entire educational curriculum was based on long-term group projects, and at times it seemed that my team was the dumping zone for students who didn't work well in any other team. Thankfully I got some really great people from time to time who helped me work the lamebrains into something worthwhile.

Thankfully in CoSaS I am often proven to be the least talented amongst us, (an opinion my awesome team will very likely rebuke) which makes working with this team an honor and a pleasure.

Again, see question number 3 on the first part of the interview.

Sticking to the above rhetoric, what is your ultimate goal in life (career wise)? What is your ultimate goal in developing and eventually releasing your project? Would you consider taking a job in the computer gaming industry? Why?

Sir Avalon: My life is this game. When the project is over, I plan to take my own life.

Lord Daniel Todd: My goal is to marry the girl of my dreams and live happily ever after.

Oh, you said career wise (how come having a family can be a career for a woman and not a man?).

I won't talk about my long-term goals *knock on wood*, too soon before I have the means to make them happen. My ultimate goal with CoSaS is to release a product, which is indistinguishable (unless you count the lack of a cardboard box and a jewel-case cover manual) from a commercially developed project. It's a very lofty goal, but I never was in the habit of setting goals that were easy to attain.

Taking Cover
Just as we're finishing reading the piece of paper, we are startled by the conversation of two maids which was obviously getting louder. This meant one thing, they're headed our direction. We place the head back on its pedestal and immediately take cover. The two maids walk by casually not noticing us in the shadows. As they pass the art gallery we gather some very important information by simply listening to their conversation.

Maid#1: Did you check the Lords safe in the study?
Maid#2: Yes I did. The safe was secure and showed no signs of being tampered with.

Maid#1: O.k., just making sure. He's been on my case lately about checking the safe on an hourly basis to make sure it's secure. He says that theirs some very valuable information in there that he cannot allow to leak into the community.
Maid#2: Yeah, I know, he's been quite nervous of late. I don't see why he doesn't hire some guards to protect it? Anyhow, I checked the combination: two past silver, fifteen shy of century, and one fifth of decade...it's working properly.

Maid#1: Good. Lets go take a break.

Safe, but Not Secure

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